Communal Art

Autores: Anna Priedola, Kristīne Briede

A conversation about the interaction of art and community

The cause of environmental problems are problems in the human culture – this is how the artist and curator Wu Mali explained her artistic activity and ecological activism in the polluted mouth of the Taiwanese Plum River in 2011-2012, who after years of theater performances, posters, stories and after curating a sense of strong community among the local population, managed to clean up the contaminated living space. [1]

Kristīne Briede and Kalle Bjoršmarks came to Karosta at the turn of the century, and in “Summer Zero” organized art events, creative workshops that were open to the local audience, and together they created a grand exhibition and film screenings – the screen was provided by a local lingerie factory. An international breath of art entered the forgotten corner of the city, and the locals received it with great enthusiasm (especially children), and Kalle and Kristine decided to stay and open the K@2 Culture and Information Center with a regular film, art and music program. In their creative work they often collaborated and made films together with the children of Karosta.

Is it easy for an artist to work with the local community? What is the reaction of the locals when an artist – a stranger – arrives in their everyday environment and suddenly tries to change it? Can art heal the traumas of a particular group in society? How – especially in the documentary art genre – does the group’s view differ from the individual’s subjective perspective? Is it necessary to build a good relationship with the community to call a public work of art community art? Can an artist develop a dialogue with the community by becoming a local? How does infrastructure help build relationships with the community? Do the worries of maintaining infrastructure and meeting places not take time away from creative work and does community art not become communal art?

Anna Priedola, the director of Liepaja University Art Research Laboratory, and Kristīne Briede, Member of the Board of K@2, Documentary Film Director, will seek answers to these and other questions related to art, community and experience in the daily life of Culture and Information Center K@2. The full article is planned to be published in the 2021 issue of the journal “Scriptus Manet” of the Liepaja University Faculty of Humanities and Arts.


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